Health Care Burden and Expenditure Associated with Adverse Childhood Experiences in Tennessee and Virginia

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To estimate attributable burden and costs of conditions associated with exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Tennessee (TN) and Virginia (VA) during 2017. This is a cross-sectional study of individuals aged 18+ having exposure to ACEs using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data. Eight chronic diseases (asthma, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis) and two risk factors (smoking and drinking) associated with ACEs were analyzed. Pearson's chi-square tests analyzed the association between ACEs, risk factors and chronic diseases. The population attributable risks (PAR) were estimated for the ACEs related diseases and risk factors and combined with health care expenses and Disability Adjusted-Life-Years (DALYs). Among those who experienced at least 1 ACE in TN, 10% had COPD, 17% had diabetes, 36% had obesity, and 30% had depression. Individuals who experienced at least 1 ACE in VA had higher percentages for COPD, obesity and depression diseases compared to those who had no ACE (p<.0001). ACEs’ exposure resulted in a burden of about 115,000 years and 127,000 years in terms of DALYs in TN and VA, respectively. The total health spending associated with ACEs based on PARs was about $647 million ($165 per adult) and $942 million ($292 per adult) in TN and VA respectively. The total costs associated with ACEs was about $15.5 billion ($3948) per person) and $20.2 billion ($6288 per person) in TN and VA, respectively. This study emphasizes the need to reduce ACEs due to high health and financial costs.